I’ve been typing on my Input Club Infinity ErgoDox for about two weeks now, and I can confirm most of my initial impressions. (See my original review.) It is indeed quite nice to type on, and coming up to speed and comfort was not terribly difficult or time-consuming.
I am currently typing this review on my laptop (a Dell XPS 13 that I have previously reviewed), which of course has a membrane traditional QWERTY keyboard. I will make some comparison comments in this review.
As I mentioned in my first impressions, the biggest slowdown in getting situated was the ortholinear key layout, not the thumb clusters or the keys that are simply in a different location — although I remapped a lot of those to bring them back to their QWERTY-ish homes. It took several days or a week to stop mis-striking keys due to their differing distance from their usual position, and some specific sequences (e.g., cd, as previously discussed) still give me trouble from time to time. I will confess that I have not been doing a lot of programming; I expect the location of the square/curly bracket keys (which I have inboard of T and Y) to rear its ugly head for a while when I have my next large programming stint.
The distance from the finger keys to the thumb cluster remains slightly non-ideal for my hands. My left thumb still wants to fall somewhere between the location of the inner and outer thumb bars, leading my spaces to occasionally immediately be backspaced (I have space on the inner key and backspace on the outer on that side). I don’t seem to have this problem on the right hand. I have also gotten much better at avoiding it with time, although it took a concerted effort.
I note that, using a traditional keyboard, I now have some of these same problems in reverse! In particular, I keep trying to hit backspace and enter with my thumbs. I also notice that my left thumb is pulled in closer to the fingers than I used to hold it, probably due to the thumb cluster distance issue mentioned above. I have also whacked the trackpad more than once trying to hit backspace.
I have not modified my layout since the first or second day of using the keyboard. My layout is pretty QWERTY-ish, except for the thumb clusters, square brackets, the key left of 7 on the right hand (which I have mapped to ESC), and the arrow keys (which are in the ErgoDox traditional position, replacing the right-hand modifiers). I did place the Pause key in the lower right corner of the right-hand board, as I use that key to lock my screen and wanted easy access to it without looking. (I originally chose it because this is trivial on a full 104-key layout.)
Mechanical switch feel
I was pleased to be moving to a mechanical switch keyboard, but to be honest, that wasn’t one of my primary considerations in choosing the ICED. I was more more concerned about the ergonomics of the keyboard, and offloading some of those long pinky reaches to my under-used thumbs. However, the Cherry MX Brown switches have been a delight. Their importance has risen in my estimation since I got the keyboard. I never noticed it during my initial break-in (when the Infinity ErgoDox was the only keyboard I was using, more or less), but I noticed it immediately upon returning to a membrane laptop keyboard — the membrane keyboard feels (relatively speaking) terrible! It also seems to fatigue my fingers more. I believe this is due to the relatively light (45 cN, lighter than the popular Clear or Blue variants) key action of the Cherry Browns. Whatever the reason, it is welcome, though it leaves a bit of regret when using another keyboard.
I would like to try Blue switches for comparison, but as changing out 70ish switches does not appeal to me, I will keep on keeping on with the switches I am already using.
I don’t find that my typing speed is much affected (and I did not expect to), now that I have broken my fingers in on the new layout. Sustained typing that does not include a large proportion of numbers or symbols (which I have never been very good at touch-typing) hovers between 90 and 110 WPM, which is identical to my results on the keyboard I’ve been using for two or more decades. I do still occasionally get a burst of errors that requires me to sit back and try again; I think this is due to the ortholinear layout, and reversions to my traditional keyboard finger placement. This has become quite rare in the past few days, however. As I said in my first impressions review, I came up to about 80% of my sustained typing speed in just a few days; after that, I crept up to 100% over just a few more. The adjustment period was quite rapid and painless.
I remain impressed. I believe I will enjoy using this keyboard for a long time. I still plan to make some simple modifications (as in my first impressions, to the LCD, support, etc.), but I do not consider them urgent. It is perfectly usable as-is.